How hard/expensive is it to change cabinet color? Any experience

mamattorneyAugust 13, 2012

Has anyone ever changed the color of your stained cabinets - not painted them, but re-stained them?

We are living in a space that is a little tight and getting tighter (surprise baby a couple of years ago - need I say more?). We're exploring all options: working with what we have, adding on to current house, maybe moving in a couple of years when we all start really banging into one another . . . nothing is imminent, but it is in the forefront of our minds.

Anyway, in looking at houses for sale, often I find a house I generally like, but, of course, there are things I would change. Most things are pretty easy to guesstimate as to a cost, but I have no idea about changing the color of cabinets. These houses are not "fixer-uppers"; I would not want to spend a ton to renovate the kitchen, that's for sure.

I've linked to an example. I like the house, but I don't like the color of the cabinets at all and don't think I could stomach paying all that money for a house and hate the kitchen cabinet color. I know the kitchen layout is not perfect, but I could live with it. If you scroll through the pictures, you'll see a bar area in the family room with the same/similar cabinets that are much darker. If the kitchen were this color, I'd be thrilled.

Is there a rule of thumb as to what this would cost? $X per cabinet or per square foot? Anyone with experience? Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Real Estate Listing

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Have you seen the house in person? Are those stained or painted cabinets? It looks painted in the pics. If they are painted, you need to be cautious about what's underneath.

If it's stained, in theory you could change the color, but I'm pretty sure for that large of kitchen, you would be looking at more than a few thousand dollars to change everything, unless you want to take the extensive time to do it yourself, but keep in mind how hard it would be to strip them down and then re-do them. You will also have to change the color of the edge-banding to match the new color, so the amount of labor required by either you or someone else is a lot.

Your best bet might be to replace the doors, but even that would likely cost $4000+. I guess that because for Walnut doors for my much smaller kitchen it was going to be $3000-4000.

Bottom line is my uneducated guess is that it will be either very expensive or months of work.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:20PM
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Above poster is right. You need to make sure it is WOOD and not painted particle board or the like. I stripped and re stained all of the cabinets in my entire house. I started with the smallest area and worked on the little issues, etc before I tackled the kitchen. If you have 2 adults who are capable of stripping/staining, then the kitchen could be done in a week IF you have ample space to lay all of the doors/drawers to dry/be stained. You'd also need to dedicate full days to it. It isn't HARD by any means. It is time consuming because of the number of steps involved and dry time. That said, I spent around $150 to restain my kitchen cabinets. Stripper, brush for stripper, mineral spirits, sand paper, application sponges, stain and polyurethane, and rated mask because the stuff is POTENT.
For having them done professionally, a friend of mine who is a kitchen designer in the area said I'd saved about $7-8K by doing it myself. I'm in Orange County, CA.
Here are before and afters:


    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:36PM
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Thanks mrsjoe! I have not seen the kitchen. I nixed this house and two others immediately before even viewing them because I didn't like the kitchen coloring, but decided to ask this question on the forum because I wanted to make sure I wasn't shooting myself in the foot by being so rash.

I'm almost relieved that it would be a costly fix because it means my first inclination was correct. No way am I paying $800K+ for a house and having to spend that kind of money to be OK with the kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:37PM
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bahacca - your kitchen looks great! No way I would tackle a project like this on my own, so I'd be looking at the big $$$. And no way would I pay $7 - 10K+ for a professional to do it to a 15 - 20 year old kitchen when there are bound to be other things I'd also like to change.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 5:26PM
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